Chapter 11. Stylesheet Organization

Now that you have all the parts needed to create XSL stylesheets, you need to think about how best to assemble them. XSLT provides very few constraints on how to structure stylesheets, but building stylesheets that can be reused and maintained requires some extra consideration and discipline.

Classes of Stylesheets

Generally, stylesheets tend to be either specialized or broad-based general purpose. The implications of this should be considered early. Examples of the first category are the one-off stylesheets created for a specific task, possibly used only for a single class of document. These will be tailored to the needs of the DTD in question and contain only as much flexibility as the DTD enables. The second category could include a base stylesheet and specialization layers to provide for specialist adaptations or a base stylesheet that can quickly be adapted to a whole range of document classes with minimal effort. These two forms require different approaches.

Specialized Stylesheets

If you are styling a single DTD or schema for print output, some finer considerations come into play. If you have a firm requirement that is well thought-out and likely to be stable once designed, you’ve just hit stylesheet heaven. It’s far more likely that you will design the stylesheet, it will be in use for a few iterations, then the end users of the output or the information providers will decide they want to tweak this bit, subdivide that part, or adapt the schema. ...

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